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Cooking Lamb [split from General Topics]

(Note: This discussion was split from General Topics at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9679... -- The Chowhound Team)

I made a culinary bucket list for 2014.The goal is to try at least two fairly new complex recipes a month and one new food ingredient per week. I have decided that as a result of all of the *lamb love* my CH peers profess that what I will do is when I go to the meat market I discovered, I will purchase 3 ounces of ground lamb. I will bring it home and mix it with garlic, bread crumbs and lots of savory seasoning and make myself either a lamb burger or mini lamb meat balls.

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  1. Good goals! I like it mixed with chunks of feta, kalamata olives and red onion, with minced garlic.

    9 Replies
    1. re: mcf

      That sounds delicious. I have irritated some CH's with my anti-lamb comments. I really want to explore a few foods I have rejected and see if I can integrate them into my diet. I love each ingredient you listed so I will keep that in mind when I conduct my *lamb experiment*.

      1. re: MamasCooking

        This is my fave recipe for serving people who are on the fence about lamb.


        1. re: MamasCooking

          I like lamb, but sometimes the lambiness is too much for me, too. A strong marinade of lemon juice, evoo, garlic and tons of Greek oregano is the only way to get my husband to tolerate, short of outright enjoying, lamb chops.

            1. re: MamasCooking

              The acid really helps cut gaminess. So does yogurt marinade due to lactic acid.

          1. re: MamasCooking

            I'm sure an excellent curry would change your mind about lamb and if you haven't tried 'lamburgers', you're in for a treat.

            1. re: mucho gordo

              Lamb curry is an abomination to my palate, but lambburgers are absolutely awesome. I wish I could find it more often.

              1. re: EWSflash

                what about lamb curry is an abomination to your palate?

                and by what kind or style of lamb curry did your palate get abominated ?

                1. re: EWSflash

                  It must have been the curry you used. What color was it?

          2. As you asked in the WFD thread about a week ago, try to find US lamb if it's available. It's much milder than New Zealand / Australian. Also instead of grinding it, try a cut you can serve rare / medium rare - it goes a long way in mitigating the lamb-iness of it. That's how I dipped my toes into the world of lamb, anyway, after a lifetime of, like you, disliking it profoundly.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sharebear

              Good point about grilling. I've done butterflied legs with an Asian marinade. This isn't the same recipe but yo get the picture:


            2. Meatballs in sauce would be a much better intro than a burger IMO, if you're not someone who already likes lamb.

              I made a bunch of just-smaller-than-a-walnut meatballs a couple of weeks ago with a pound of ground lamb, browned them in the oven, and simmered them in a tomato sauce (started with onions, garlic, and included some cumin and cinnamon). Throw in some thin ribbons of fresh mint just before serving, and serve over couscous or rice.

              Preheat oven to 425F. Very lightly oil a half-size baking sheet (or two quarter sheets).

              Combine 1/4 cup oatmeal (regular rolled oats, not quick-cooking), 1/4 cup grated or finely minced onion, chopped fresh mint and parsley (about 2 tsp each), 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp coriander, pinch of cayenne, 1/4 tsp salt, couple grinds of pepper. Stir to combine thoroughly.
              Beat 1 egg with 1/4 cup milk (or half and half, or ricotta) until evenly mixed, add to other ingredients and mix in, then add 1 lb ground lamb. Use your hands to get it all evenly incorporated.

              Form into small meatballs, place on baking sheet. Bake about 8 minutes, until browned a bit on bottom, then remove from oven and (using tongs) turn each meatball over. Put back in oven, reversing pan, for another 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon and tilting pan slightly to keep fat away from meatballs, remove them to a pot of simmering sauce (or to a holding dish if the sauce isn't ready).

              Simmer in the tomato sauce for 20-30 minutes. Add ribbons of fresh mint just before serving. Toasted pine nuts are a nice topping.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ellabee

                I second the Meatballs idea - Lamb in tomato sauce is really wonderful.

              2. I would check out this chow lamb meat ball recipe:

                It is delicious and can be turned into a meal using pita and other veggies.

                1. I love a lamb patty - just pepper and garlic powder (I avoid salt where possible) - sauteed medium-rare with onions, on a bun or over mashed potato.

                  1. Have you considered lamb sausage? Garlic, oregano, red wine & parsley. Touch of lemon peel if you like. Also some pork fat (belly) so its not too dry.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: rjbh20

                      As a lamb lover I must ask, do you have a recipe for that sausage you'd be willing to share? Too often the only recipes out there are for Merguez-style sausage, which is not to my taste.

                      1. re: mcsheridan

                        Pretty much as above -- all amounts are to taste. Plus salt & pepper, of course. I used lamb neck plus about 30% pork fat. Not too much wine or they explode -- about 1/4 cup for about 3 lbs of sausage. And knead the daylights out of it or it gets crumbly.

                        Having the last of it tonite as part of a throw together mixed grill.

                          1. re: mcsheridan

                            Mc---did you write German cookbook or so?

                            1. re: Raffles

                              Not I. I believe you're thinking of Mimi Sheraton's cookbook.

                              I do own one, though, although not hers.

                            2. re: mcsheridan

                              Lamb sausage is good to have in the freeze for a last minute mixed grill.

                              NB: portions are young athlete-sized.

                        1. re: rjbh20

                          My WF sells Merguez and we love them.

                        2. Just so all of the CH's responding know, I did not put this thread up. Someone else took one of my personal posts and split it into a thread. However there are many succulent sounding lamb dishes posted.

                          8 Replies
                            1. re: coll

                              I requested that the mods remove it but they ignored me.

                              1. re: MamasCooking

                                Actually, we sent you an email about your flag asking for more information. If you didn't get that email, you can drop us a note at moderators@chowhound.com.

                                1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                  I just got in have not seen my email. Thank you for your response. M. Wong explained the *split*. No worries.

                            2. re: MamasCooking

                              Not to worry...
                              Kinda weird for someone to do that, though.

                              1. re: mcsheridan

                                The moderators did that as they do regularly. Nothing creepy about it.

                              2. re: MamasCooking

                                As you can see from the note from the Chowhound Team at the top of the first post, you had posted this to the thread about beef standards on the General Topics board. Since it had garnered some replies about cooking lamb and had nothing to do with beef or global standards for beef, it was snipped off and moved here. And the mods left a pointer in the original thread to here. Now that it's on the Home Cooking board, it looks like you're getting some good suggestions that would not have been offered it stayed buried in the original beef thread on a different board.

                              3. But....it's St Patricks Day weekend. Why not Shepherds Pie? But I do use 2 lbs for that myself.

                                1. We eat more lamb than any other meat. Loads of different recipes from simple grilled chops, to roasts, casseroles, etc.

                                  Look towards European recipe websites for ideas as it features heavily in several of our cuisines. Then, of course, there's the extensive use in asian dishes.

                                  17 Replies
                                    1. re: Raffles

                                      I cook a lot of lamb exactly because it's not expensive, at least compared with other locally produced meat. We buy a half lamb from local farmers, usually in November, and the two of us finish it up by end of next October.

                                      1. re: ellabee

                                        Your local lambs must be A LOT bigger than ours. Cut and wrapped, a whole lamb will only weigh out to maybe 35#. We're going to buy TWO soon :)

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          <g> They're no bigger than the norm. We don't eat meat but a couple of times a week, and not always lamb by any means.

                                      2. re: Raffles

                                        Lamb is not at all expensive where I am - supermarket prices per kilo can often be cheaper than good quality beef.

                                        1. re: Raffles

                                          Lamb is probably my favorite meat as well. In fact lamb meatballs in a sour orange and tahini sauce are what's for dinner on this cold, blustery day.

                                          Lamb need not be expensive. Costco has Australian lamb for very good prices and my local butcher will sell less popular cuts like shoulder chops or lamb breast at family-friendly prices.

                                          1. re: JungMann

                                            Lamb breast is a thing of joy. Not only is it extremely cheap, but it's deliciously fatty. I can buy it boned and rolled for roasting but prefer just to roast the slab with the bone in. Local Chinese takeaways sell it as "Mongolian" spare ribs - pretty much as you'd get pork spare ribs.

                                              1. re: Gastronomos

                                                I've never understood mint jelly with lamb. Is it to cover up the taste?

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  beats me. I hate apple mint jelly. especially not understandable with savory foods. beastly

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    Mint jelly is too sweet and is not traditional in my culture. The more usual accompaniment is mint sauce - just mint, sugar and malt vinegar. Chopping mint for mint sauce is the earliest kitchen job I can recall doing for Mum.

                                                    I've no idea of its actual history, although I see a reference to its inclusion in a 1717 cookery book, so I presume it predates that by some considerable time. The use of sweet/sour in British cooking is well documented back to Elizabethean times and, I'd presume, has its origins dating back to the Roman occupation.

                                                    I see it as part of a celebration of spring (or Easter for those who are Christian). Lamb certainly being a tradtional food at that time of year and mint just starting to sprout into growth. Perfect with each other.

                                                    In the colder months when , traditionally (and still in this house), hogget or mutton was eaten instead of lamb, there would often be a thick onion white sauce with it instead of mint. We do that from time to time but are more likely to use a jar of bought mint sauce.

                                                  2. re: Gastronomos

                                                    Polaner makes a Real Mint Jelly that doesn't have apple as a base. Not to everyone's taste, but still better than Apple Mint Jelly. I still fall back on Polaner from time to time, even though I know it's not traditional, but it's far more common for me to marinate in olive oil, loads of garlic & fresh rosemary before grilling lamb and serve either as is, or with tzatziki.

                                                    There's even an old recipe I still use once in a while that goes back to the early 70s that used honey mustard as a final baste while broiling lamb chops, supposedly an Australian treatment.

                                                    Of course, Shepherd's Pie is marvelous using the traditional ground lamb or leftover roast lamb, chopped.

                                                    And don't even get me started on Mongolian Lamb. Yum.

                                                    1. re: mcsheridan

                                                      Ok. Thanks. I'm sure it's much better. :-P

                                                    2. re: Gastronomos

                                                      I've had mint jelly with lamb, but I'm fonder of the mint sauce to which Harters refers, which I make using the apple mint I grow on my windowsill. I've never been a fan of sweets and meats -- applesauce and pork chops are not for me -- but the combination does have its fans and used judiciously, the mint can complement a leaner cut like a leg roast. Fattier cuts make the sweetness of the jelly coat the palate.

                                                      1. re: JungMann

                                                        Apple mint is definitely the way to go for mint sauce - don't know why but it works much better than normal spearmint & peppermint. I used to grow all three but have taken the other two out.

                                                          1. re: Gastronomos

                                                            Not for me. As mcsheridan said upthread, I'm more the garlic, oo, rosemary or an Asian flavor. Actually anything except any form of sweet. But obviously plenty love the opposite end of the spectrum.

                                                2. Yuvetsi: Greek lamb shanks braised in tomato sauce with orzo and topped with kasseri.

                                                  Lamb souvlaki: big chunks of leg marinated for 24-48 hours in olive oil, fresh rosemary, oregano, mint, garlic, onion, thyme. Grill to med-rare.

                                                  Lamb keftedes: if you wanna get fancy, stick some melty cheese inside the meatballs.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                    let's add Lamb Fricassee. to die for.

                                                  2. I would suggest a better use for ground lamb would be a shepperds pie!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                      We grind our own meat and lately have found we prefer sausage and lamb burgers to beef, but again I'd not try to like it by doing a burger as a first foray. So the shepherd's pie appeals a lot.